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Please note that Due to staff shortages, we are unable to offer an archive or library enquiry service at present.


Reading Room

The Library at St Fagans provides a resource and a service, mainly for the Museum's staff, facilitating all aspects of their work: identifying objects, interpreting them in their sociohistorical context, caring for them, answering enquiries, preparing exhibitions, and so on. Members of the public too are welcome to use the Library, which is used especially by students and the media, as well as by individuals. The Library also answers enquiries received by telephone and post.


The scope of the Library can be defined simply by such terms as folk life, ethnography, social history, which, however, comprise subjects as wide-ranging as:

Library Shelves

Religion; sociology; politics; migration; economic history; crime and punishment; education; commerce; transport; folk customs, lore and tales; children's lore; proverbs; sociolinguistics and dialectology; technology; medicine; farming and rural life; cooking and house-keeping; crafts; manufacturing and manufactured goods; buildings; vernacular architecture; folk music, song and dance; the eisteddfod; pastimes; geography; topography; biography and memoirs; genealogy; personal and place-names; heraldry; Welsh history; musical instruments; handicrafts; clocks; arms; furniture; textiles; costume and accessories.

The scope of the Museum, strictly, is the history of these subjects in Wales in the post-medieval period, but they cannot be interpreted properly without considering the British, European, and up to a point, world-wide contexts, and this is reflected in the Library's collection. It contains approximately 40,000 volumes, 200 maps, and 260 current periodical titles.


The Library's origins go back to the 1920s, when the study of Welsh folk culture was researched and interpreted within the Archaeology Department at the National Museum and Gallery, Cardiff, and books on the subject were collected.When the Welsh Folk Museum (as it was called until 1995) was established in 1948 the relevant staff and the books relating to folk life moved from Cardiff to the Welsh Folk Museum in St Fagans. The book collection continued to be administered from the National Museum & Gallery, Cardiff, until 1969, when the Welsh Folk Museum Library was established with new purpose-built premises, and its own professional librarian was appointed to manage it.

Opening hours and conditions of use
Reading Room

The Library is open to members of the public Monday - Friday, 9.30 - 1.00, 1.45 - 4.30. It is closed on weekends and national holidays. Members of the public wishing to use the Library should contact the Librarian to make an appointment, either by telephoning (029) 2057 3446 (the Librarian's direct line), or (029) 2057 3500 (the telephonist), or by writing to: the Librarian, St Fagans National History Museum, St Fagans, Cardiff CF5 6XB, WALES, UK. It should be noted that the Library is for reference only; books may not be borrowed, though books may be loaned to other libraries through recognized inter-library lending schemes.


A number of reading lists are available covering frequently received inquiries, e.g. Wales (general), Welsh vernacular architecture, Tracing your family history, Local history research, Agriculture to industry in south east Wales, The Rebecca Riots, The Treason of the Blue Books, The coracle, Folk dancing, Furniture, Dry stone walling, Social conditions in the countryside, The harp in Wales, Drovers and drovers' roads.

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